Siva, Cardinals preparing to take next step

University of Louisville point guard Peyton Siva was flashing around his NCAA Tournament Final Four ring at the Cardinal Caravan. But Siva said he wasn't going to be happy to end his career at U of L with just that ring.

The senior and leader for the Cardinals said he wanted to trade the Final Four ring in for one with more diamonds – an NCAA national title ring – next season.

Louisville is expected to be one of the top ranked teams in the preseason and a favorite for the national title, but Siva said that's not the thinking right now.

"I am wearing this one until we try and get a national championship one next year," Siva said, pointing to the ring. "But we have a long ways to go and we're trying to put in the work now in order to get there."

Siva said there haven't been a lot of pick-up games during the offseason – per Rick Pitino's instructions – but noted that "everybody on the team" has improved on the floor and is working hard in the weight room.

"I've seen a lot of change," Siva said. "Especially, Kevin Ware has stepped up into a big role this year, he's our starting shooting guard as of now. He's worked a lot on his shooting, his mid-range is a lot better.

"Wayne (Blackshear) is getting healthier and able to move a lot better. Russ (Smith) is getting a lot stronger and making better decisions. I think everybody is just getting a lot better. Angel (Nunez) is able to handle the ball better and move off the wing. Chane (Behanan) and Gorgui (Dieng) are getting a lot stronger and a lot bigger. So everybody's been working hard."

Siva and Dieng, who attended the Cardinal Caravan in Frankfort, said the players are not focused on any kind of high expectations. Siva said they've "blocked it out."

"What happened last year was last year," he said. "We had our fun for a week after (the Final Four). We celebrated and we enjoyed it. But now we have to worry about this year. We had high expectations last year. We were ranked in the top 10, and you know fell and dropped in the middle of the season. So right now we're just trying to stay humble and hungry and injury free."

And the goal is obvious.

A fan at the Caravan asked Dieng if one of the main goals next season was to beat Kentucky, and he didn't hesitate to answer:

"We have one goal, win a national championship," he said.

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